e simply cannot celebrate Dr. King, then turn around and watch efforts to dismantle the very things he fought and died for. Here we are recognizing such an esteemed figure and a national holiday, yet the Supreme Court recently gutted part of the Voting Rights Act itself.
In an age of 24-hour news media and the irruption of social media, blogs, and anonymous posts, we suffer from the temptation of vitriolic speech. We have lost the capacity to shape the moral conscience of the nation and transform the national mood and tenor.
On the celebration of his birthday this year, when he would have been 85, it is good to remember 12 remarkable declarations from his speeches that give psychologically inspiring and meaningful advice for life.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke those words from the pulpit of a Baptist church in 1957, he reminded us of the greatest hallmark of our American democracy: that we are here to lift each other up.
I would argue that in many ways, this is King's greatest legacy. His courage to proceed in a mission that, by any rational calculation would have been doomed to fail, is a lesson for all of us to learn. Without hope, without faith that there can be a better future, there will not be one.
Natural law leaves us late-born followers of the American founders and of MLK, Jr to debate who we are as Americans, which men and women are included, and which God, if any, may have granted us equality.
Dr. King's actions serve as a reminder that no matter the situation or the odds, there are still steps you can take to make a difference, to find a way to overcome what's in the way, to work around the numerous obstacles.
The principal 21st-century challenge to our country from the legacy of Dr. King is how we effectively recommit ourselves to the pursuit of nonviolent conflict resolution and increased equal access by all Americans to economic opportunity.